tv First Ladies Influence Image CSPAN April 22, 2013 9:00pm-10:30pm EDT
debate between the democrats. later, a look at the charges against the boston, and immigration policy. >> born in 1818 in lexington, kentucky, mary todd a group of and lived to see her husband issued the emancipation proclamation 45 years later. a mother of four sons, she witnessed the death of three of those sons as well as her husband's assassination. her life was filled with lincoln'sut as political partner, she relished in his success. a look at the life and times of mary todd lincoln, one of the most complex first lady's.
thank you for joining us on the first ladies: : 10 damage. we invite to of our academic advisers. historypenn is a professor at meredith and morgan state university. at the table again is the director of five presidential libraries including the abraham lincoln library in springfield, illinois and a presidential biographer. thank you for being here. we will start with richard. mary todd is often viewed in broad strokes. criticism of her lavish spending and overly indulgent mother. if you look at a more nuanced picture, what do you see? 90that is why we need to get minutes, to begin to get at the nuances. has been called the great
american story, an integral part of the great american story. steven spielberg doesn't make movies about julia tyler or louisa adams. mary todd lincoln remains someone who is symbolically divisive, perhaps. to some, a heroin, others a victim. she is a surprisingly contemporary figure as well. >> i like her because she is so .omplex i say i like h i say i like her. dressmakeras her and companion. she did not live at the white house a good deal of time. formerly enslaved, purchased her own freedom and was interviewed along with other women to become
the first lady's seamstress. or modess, as they called it. she made the most beautiful dresses. >> what do you learn about mrs. lincoln through elisabeth's eyes? >> it gives you a very concrete sketch of the relationship she had with her for four years. just reading what elisabeth tells you gives you an idea of how complex and hurt and victimized she was. >> it is the most intimate portrait we have of mary. lost will begin our new image, we call her mary todd. lincoln.d it mary where did mary todd come from?
>> it was modern. she did not use it as i understand. > lincoln famously said, mocking the pretensions of his wife's family, gone are the time when the todd's needed one d. a thousand times she heard that joke. she's 5 foot 2 if that. introducingit of themselves as the law and the short of that, another joke she endured more than enjoyed. >> these programs work because they are interactive and we will get to phone numbecalls. go to the facebook
page or tweet using #firstladies. let's take a brief look at what the country looked like. 31 million people in 33 states, but 11 were going to break off to form the confederate states of america. 1850,growth since continuing to grow at an enormous pace. 3.9 million slaves, 12.7% of the population. the largest cities were new york, philadelphia, and brooklyn, and baltimore. they arrive at the white house. set the scene for the election and how tumultuous politics were. >> the political process had broken down. there were four parties that ran in 1860. the democratic party that was the one truly national political organization split into northern
and southern wings, divided over the issue of slavery. stephen douglass, lincoln's longtime rival and at one point romantic rival for mary's hand is the democratic nominee from the north. vice president breckinridge is the southern democratic candidate. they disappeared in the middle of the decade, they nominated john bell from tennessee, middle-of-the-road and support the constitution platform. the republicans were defined as anti-slavery, but not radically anti-slavery. they were all about containing the spread of slavery. with 40% of the election news of his
reached the state's almost immediately to secede. >> the white house that the first lady in here it was the domain of. admired-- harriet lane, for her social skills even though the country was fracturing. >> historian catherine clinton said that in one of her biographies, she broke the elite virginia scheme of things. wivesof the congressional at some of the women that were very important during the virginian times were resentful. they lampooned them. lincoln and her. the sad thing was, she was a very intelligent and highly
educated woman from the family in terms of what you consider wealthy and good families. but they treated her very badly. the other thing that might have hit her is that washington was a swamp. >> in many ways. itwhen i came to washington, was mosquito-ridden. that was not 150 years ago. i am sure she had a difficult time dealing with that. she complained about how drab and worn the white house itself was. some of the furniture was back to the days of dolly madison. she had a lot to worry about. >> if you think of the repercussions of this woman arriving from kentucky, referred to as the republican queen,
mocked by people that do not know her and willing to assume the worst about these banquets, it puts a chip on her shoulder even before she arrives in the capital. it might begin explain some of her shopping, some of her preoccupation with fixing up the white house, for example. ,> and we have a quote from her her rationale for why she spent so much money on her own attire. "i must address myself in this attire because people who scrutinize every article i wear with curiosity. the fact i have grown up in the west subject to more searching observation. " when she interviews elizabeth keckley, she asks how much she
will charge for her dresses. i will be says, reasonable. they came to an agreement. my theory is that she wanted a lot of dresses but could not afford to pay lavishly. on her budget, she was able to get what she wanted because keckley agreed not to overcharge her. >> paint a portrait of what life was like in the lincoln white house as a family living there and the public using the space. open tos astonishingly the public. in the middle of the great civil war that is raging, twice a week, the president would throw open his office and people could couldp as long as they wait for his public opinion badge. these were mostly job-seekers.
childrenoln, the finessed themselves around these folks. the two boys at the beginning, of course. whene was 10 years old they arrived, and his younger brother. robert have got off to harvard. there was another brother that they lost years earlier in springfield. upon theoln looked white house very much as a symbol of this nation. they took seriously the responsibilities. as the woman responsible for the appearance of the house, remember that this was a time when the country was coming apart at the seams.
the symbolic value of america oppose the house is even greater. houseike -- of america's is even greater. in some ways, she took the same view of the white house. >> this network produced a documentary on the white house and we visited the lincoln bedroom. we will show you that next to show you the kind of spending that mary lincoln did on the furniture. 1861, boughtack to by mary todd lincoln as part of white house refurbishing. 8 feet long, 6 feet wide, made of carved rosewood. a purplencoln bed with and gold and lace. victoria and decorating. we have later photographs with the bed still dressed the way that she dressed it. >> it is theis bed bough -- this
bed bought by mary lincoln that holds the key to understanding the lincoln family's time here. >> it was one of mary lincoln's many extravagant purchases when she began a campaign to redecorate this entire building. money, andt so much he flew into a rage and said it was a stink in the nostrils of the american people. thatas dying flub-dubs for damned old house. lincoln's middle son died after a bout with typhoid fever. mary never went into the room or looked at the bed again. lincoln to death --
occur to the window and let her look across the river. if you don't get a hold of yourself, you will have to be put there. that was her time to absorb it. would hole up, it the week he died just to grieve. how they handle their grief goes to how we see them today. in the case of mary, it unhinged her. the final blow. the war melded the disparate elements of lincoln's personality and his grief. willie morphed into the nation's sense of loss.
millions of homes throughout the union. was a different interpretation. congress allotted her $20,000, four years later, they allotted $125,000 for refurbishing. money did not have enough to spend. >> how could she have spent some much if they only allocated $20,000? was it all on that one bad? >> she overspent the $20,000 by about $6,000. >> there was a war going on. it is part of the legend that the mets. chocoholic.ontrol
political aspect of that, too. how did they react when there were so many sons of mother's dying on the battlefield? >> she basically disappeared for over one year. her social life and for over a year. ended for over a year. she ordered the marine band to stop playing concert on the white house grounds, maybe they could move to lafayette park. her grief was too great. even beyond herself the standards of the day. her compatriot was queen victoria that would spend the rest of her life -- over the loss of prince albert. >> what brought her out of her
grief? >> she was continuing to be vilified. who was reallyt, a disappointment in the long run, had her incarcerated and sent into a mental institution. she decided, i am going to get out of here. she was able to mobilize to get her out of the mental i nstitution. >> i don't think she ever really recovered from the loss of willie. just willie. at the loss of the word, her husband, -- edward, her husband, tad. > and the loss of her mother that center to springfield and the first place. -- sent her to springfield in
the first place. her life is shattered by loss. served as how she the first lady to the president. her intuition about individuals is more accurate than that of her husband. guzzling can listen to her? -- does lincoln listen to her? >> think that she tried to advise him but his advisers did not want her interfering. that was definitely the case when he was dying and they to occur from the room and would whicht her in to mourn, was a traditional thing in her culture. the wife stays with the husband until he dies. they robbed her of that. robinson asks, di mary
out of create enemies social rivals? who was our main antagonist? of rivals.a number the daughter of the secretary of the treasury made no secret about wanting to replace lincoln in the white house. kate was quite the belle of the ball. it is safe to say that mrs. lincoln had no great love lost for kate. and it ise legend, accurate, the stories of her accompanying the president to the battlefield near the war. ar the end of the war. she lost it. the reason the grants did not go
was because julia grant did not want to risk having another confrontation with this unpleasant woman. did the staffing of her? >> they liked her. only four of the staff remained when the lankans came to the white house. -- lincolns came to teh white house. blacks.ught in freed those that were interviewed talked about her in a very positive way. she got along well with them because they were the ones that helped raise her after her real mother died. lincoln's personal secretary did not use the best descriptions of her. man, they have their own reasons to resent.
-- had nicknames that the secretaries used to refer to them. outside of washington, what was the perception of the first family? a great question. if you read the press of the day, there was a considerable amount of criticism. more press-een conscious, we know how much time she spent visiting soldiers and hospitals. writing letters to soldiers that were unable to write themselves. taking food and gifts. and she never took reporters along with her. if she had been a little bit more pr contras, who knows what
it might have done? >> the press followed her no. every store they went into. that is what they reported, those kinds of things. >> ron, you're on. go ahead, please. >> you have indicated that there continues to be great controversy among historians and biographers over the lincoln marriage. the first school of thought was initially presented in a biography by his law partner based on his post-assassination interviews with the multitude of lincolns, colleagues, neighbors, servants, etc. they reinforced the view that she was a domestic hell on earth withfrequent outbursts multiple instances of thrown objects including a piece of
fire would that resulted in her battered husband having a broken nose. the other is presented as an appealing love story that reflects the deep skepticism over the veracity of the informants. about the super abundance of evidence to the contrary for both the pre-presidential and a presidential periods. scholars have given more as thee to her written money. this is culminated in the 2008 biography. >> in the interest of time, do you want to know which they think is more correct? >> one more thing i want to add. mcpherson criticized the relentless hostility towards the marred the which
image. my question is, what is your assessment of the depiction of mary lincoln and what is their assessment of the motion picture's portrayla. al? >> are you familiar? mary, ael is hostile to certainly amassed a great deal of evidence to support his view. eleanor and franklin people, and they are pretty much abraham and married people. there are people that will not set on the same stage at scholarly symposiums. they are so committed to one or the other and how passionate these historians feel. >> abraham seemed committed to marry. >> and that is the ultimate test, in some ways.
if he has read catherine clinton's biography of mrs. lincoln where she engages him. at thee to really look reasons why people write biographies or books. he was angry. and later took it out on mary. you have i have heard, to look at the motives behind the books. >> i asked what you thought of the modern portrayal. >> it was wonderful precisely because it transcends all of these camps.
>> i agree. from mary lincoln about her own view at the public perception, i seem to be the scapegoat for both the north and the south. we will show you next, another video. a woman at her summer cottage not very far from the capital to call the soldiers home. >> president lincoln's cottage was a seasonal home for the lincoln family. mary lincoln really pushed for the move out here to the soldiers home because she thought it was a place for her family to have more privacy than at the white house. we are in the mary lincoln room which is not part of our typical experience of the cottage. we call it the mary lincoln room because when they moved here in the summer of 1863, she is involved in a pretty serious
carriage accident. some believe the carriage had been tampered with and this was utterly assassination attempt. accident,uffered that the driver's seat separate from the carriage and the horses are startled at take off, she had to leap out of the carriage in order to save herself. she suffered a head injury. she is treated at the white house, and she comes out to the to make aomre recovery. not only is it the most isolated of the bedrooms, but it is the only one with windows allowing for better cross-breezes. in 1862, there is the imperative of having a more private place to mourn and grieve after the
death of willie. going about the traditional cultural and social expectations of a woman in morning and felt like she could not do it as effectively at the white house. for her, there was a personal imperative to come out to this home to grieve the loss of her son. one of the best documented events that actually took place is a seance hosted here after the death of willie. noah brooks writes about that account. lincoln felt that mary was being taken advantage of and that she might be subject to blackmail. he asked for some of his colleagues and friends to check out the situation and see if they could figure out what the medium is doing and figure
out how to make the noises he was claiming were spirits. here at the soldiers home, he recounts noises they were hearing in when the lights turned on, they were able to prove he was a fraud. it does not seem that she was aware that she was being defrauded. after it was revealed this man was a fake, she was quite embarrassed by that. and there was an attempt to conceal or cover up the incident. whenever she writes about this place, she talks about how much she was looking forward to coming out here. she sought as fulfilling her dream of what her family would experience in washington, d.c. even though death and of the war were surrounding them, it gave them a little bit of respite from the chaos of downtown
washington d.c. >> it is available for public tours, put it on your list of out of the way spots, a time capsule for history. you were visibly wanting to react to the spiritualism. ways thes in some lincoln president in miniature. there is a school of thought that says her condition worsened after that very severe head injury that she experienced. 2, date is significant, july 1863. the second day of the battle of gettysburg. the president's attention is focused elsewhere. gettysburg and vicksburg, he did not pay as much attention to his wife. >> is there speculation that the
carriage accident was an assassination attempt? after the election, there was a document to the assassination attempt the pinkerton service saved them from. onre was a constant threat the lives of these people. that stress we should take into account. >> she was living through all of that. it was a horrible time to be in the white house, i would think. >> we are in the midst of a five-year marking of the civil war events. we could not capture all of the tumultuous and significant events, but here are a few of them. began.he civil war 1863, they issued the emancipation proclamation.
and as richard said, the gettysburg address. 1865, the thirteenth amendment abolishing slavery is proposed. house in 9, the court virginia, the confederate army surrenders. but tens the lincoln administration. -- bookends the lincoln administration. you mentioned her unannounced visits to military hospitals. >> that goes to the controversy. there is a significant body of evidence that calls into question some of her conduct. for example, she was surrounded by people that very clearly were there to take advantage of her. .he needed money
never forget the fact that from the day she arrived there, she needed money. wasneeded money because she $27,000 in debt to her dress makers. the president had to be reelected because if he was, she could keep those bills that day. if he was not, who knew what might happen? she was spending public funds on the white house proper. there were always people around her that were eager to serve their own interests by appearing to serve hers. there was a shady character by ier name of henry, a cheval of the new york herald. thebefriended her and
president's annual message to congress in 1861 appeared in the new york herald the same day it went to congress. you get the picture. there was no shortage of people like the chevalier that were pocketso line their own or serve their own interests. i think the legitimate criticism of mrs. lincoln has nothing to do with her mental condition. you can only feel empathetic for that. but legitimately, there is criticism about how she conducted herself in ways that were always in danger of exposed -- if exposed of endangering the -- embarrassing the president. >> it was the gardener that took the letter and gave it to the press. >> that was the story that was --
>> and then the gardener leaves first garland -- for scotland. he must have been paid to do this. >> the other side of the argument is that it was the story they created to cover up what happened. fredericksburg, virginia. >> i am enjoying the show very much. i have a question regarding the broken first engagement and then they got back together a year- and-a-half later. why do you think they broke up? and did they get back together? throughoutn love her their marriage? >> i will hold the question because as the program progresses, we will go back in time and answer your question, i promise.
let's take another from chad. >> my question is about elizabeth keckley. ,he served with mary lincoln i'm not sure? >> she made dress as for a variety of people including jefferson davis's wife. was very popular. she had her own shop. she did not live in the white house. she had her own residence, a place that she rented. and she was very popular among congressional wives that recommended her to mrs. lincoln. she bought her freedom in st. louis through dress making. >> as the lankans traveled back they had contraband camps.
>> people escaping from slavery , in particular, with their families. or enslaved people that were emancipated but had no place to go. contrabandseveral associations across the nation. keckely was one of the ofnders of the washington band association. people on many facebook and twitter asking us questions about her views on slavery. was friends with henry clay, did she also prescribe to the gradual emancipation and colonization of the slaves? or did you follow lincoln's change of heart and scrapping the colonization efforts? was she anti-slavery and support
the 13th amendment. >> she was and he slavery and certainly supported the thirteenth amendment. >> they say she influenced the president into the immediate emancipation, but i think it was a war strategy. >> i think you are right. >> she was encouraging him to go ahead and do it. wasy,ry clay, in some what brought them together was to be shared love of politics. era and in lady of the particular, henry clay was a neighbor and good friend, lincoln's political hero. in some ways, he is the
political matchmaker behind this unlikely union. >> our next visit is to springfield, illinois. the place where abraham and mary would meet. let's talk about the collections to the lincoln library, the first lady artifacts. we will learn more about how that city preserves our memory. >> here we have some things that mary lincoln had in the white house. to be interested in books. here are two volumes of what we think was a 27-volume set of the bulwerf sir edward lytton. today, butrecognized this novel is remembered.
"the last days of pompeii." signed these books 1864. she was a pretty good writer of letters. monogram m.l. on it. notice no "t" in there. she never called herself mary todd lincoln, she never called herself mary t. lincoln. she was mrs. lincoln, mrs. abraham lincoln, or mrs. president lincoln. mary todd is a 20th-century invention. showss the letter that some of her difficulties in the sense that her reputation suffered. she is writing to the assistant secretary of the treasury. asking if he can find a job for her dress maker, elizabeth
keckley because she does no longer need the services and wants to get elizabeth onto the jobs list at the treasury. "i promise i will never ask you for another favor." of course, she did. over and over. death ofy, it was the willie. this was a piece of sheet music that we just acquired, only two copies report it anywhere. outuppose there are a few there. it is hard to imagine how many people would have wanted to buy this outside of the lincoln's immediate circle of friends.
a substantial publisher in new it., william hall, printed child tohe first t die in the white house and not one of only two presidential children to die in the white house. , illinois.ingfield illinoi going back to her need for money, abraham lincoln was a very successful lawyer in springfield. he worked the railroads and made quite a bit of money. what was his income? >> that is a great point. it is interesting. if you go back and look at the accounts, her money seems to be something that started with washington. neighborsfriends and
that talk about how thrifty she was. it was a good housekeeper she .as during his legal days about it a little bit already, she was a national people.epresenting people were condescending to her and her husband. she had a place of status and an appearance to maintain. i think it was as simple as that. i think it got out of hand. his estate at the time of his death. his widow would inherit 1/3. in would think that she was that $27,000. $27,000.t
>> she got duplicates, hundreds sometimes, of parasols and things. >> that is true, that is the nature. over time, it became more pronounced that she would go and buy dozens of sets of gloves at a given time. >> wearing gloves in washington with all of those people coming in, i am sure she was aware of the germs people had. i think that was a significant thing. of. keckley kept some gloves the president that mrs. lincoln took off of his hands and gave to her. whenever there were meetings and people coming by, they wore gloves. this was in the movie, this was real.
the movie showed his servant saying that mrs. clinton wants you to where these gloves, -- lincoln wants you to where these gloves. she knew about the disease. sets ofhe did buy 300 these -- >> one of the touching and counterpoints to this is that incoln loved to see her beautiful clothes. it was one of the few extravagances he was comfortable with. hand andent on one critical in the other? >> i would say he is more indulgent than critical. >> we can't do justice to the tumultuous years in the white house, but was there a question he was going to seek reelection? question he no would seek reelection but a
profound question of if he would be. it was wholly dependent on the course of the war. fallen, it became very clear it was only a question of time that the north would win. lincoln himself believed he would not be reelected. you can imagine the move upstairs around mrs. lincoln. >> he had bouts of melancholy. a lot of them. she was one of the few people that could bring him out of bed. >> here is what mary lincoln had to say shortly after the reelection. "our heavenly father sees fit to visit us at such times for our worldliness. how small and insignificant world honors are when we are so shirley tried." -- surely tried."
>> there is still part of the debate about lincoln. clearly, mary was a devout church goer. . she had some doubts planted by the death of willie. joined aimself never church, but even as far back as springfield, he spent hours and hours spenwith the minister goig over the bible. he knew his king james bible front and back. in some ways, how he taught himself to write. >> 1865, they were pretty avid theatergoers and to make a decision to sego to ford's thear assassinated. tell us of his death and mary's
role. it.he witnesses she cries out, the president has been shot. people assume that it is part of the show. they take him across the street to a boarding house. he is sick. that hisry strange cabinet members are all around him while the doctor is there and she is hysterical. i guess that she would be, you know? they get one of her female friends to take her out of the room and a keeper there. it takes him all night to pass away. >> 7:22 in the morning. >> right. the sad thing is they would not let her see him at the end
because they did not want to hear her hysteria, from what i gathered. >> the secretary of state took charge of the house that night and said, take the woman out of the room. was at his lincoln father's bedside, but mary was not there. st.et's hear a call from petersburg, florida. you there? >> yes. first, thank you for taking my call. i have enjoyed the entire followed iti have with margaret truman's biography of the first ladies. devotes quite a bit of time to mary todd lincoln and remarks veryshe ranks at the bottom of the lasist.
i don't agree with that, and i wonder how your commentators would also rank her in terms of first ladies. >> oh, boy. put it this way. i certainly would disagree with those that would rank occur at or near the bottom. it is a less than compassionate thing. i also think her years and her story is really unique in the annals of white house history. i think she is a unique figure. hundreds of years later, we are having this discussion and still debating her motives, it tells you that she is an important first lady. i will leave it at that. >> important because of the man
to whom she was married? >> important because of the man, important because of the part she plays in the story that is still being debated after all of these years. we still feel as if we do not and we are nots having this debate over angelica zander and. >> she is one of my favorites. not my true favorite, but i divide them up into eighteenth, nineteenth, and 20-twenty first century. the nineteenth century once, she and abigail adams would be my favorite. i rank her quite high. you have to look at her vision as a partner. there were several first ladies that consider themselves to be partners with their husband.
not that they were trying to tell them what to do, but to advise and take care of them, whether mentally, physically, or politically. i think she was a very significant influence. >> she is a tragic figure. part of the tragedy is that very partnership that helped contribute to him becoming president was destroyed by the to and what they hoped achieve. >> the vilification. >> dublin. >> this is a wonderful program. i watch every night. arl sandberg's lincoln .elevision movie in 1974 today's is good, but people
should watch this type of movie. bodyan also talk about his almost stolen from his corrrypt at the time. there is so much information wouldthe laincolns, it take a year to earth up. rooseveltank her with and kennedy. >> 100 years later when john f. kennedy was assassinated, jacqueline would look to the plans for the lincoln funeral to guide her through the decisions of the kennedy funeral. >> the lincoln funeral, was nothing like it before or since. 20 days, they retraced the
inauguration route from springfield the washington. exceptions,e of they retraced that route. 10, in effect, state funerals along the way. northern american either looked upon the president's face in his casket or saw the train go by. it was an extraordinary pageant of grief. very victorian. lincoln got along for any of it. keeping with tradition, she stayed at the white house grief- stricken. ascribeseth keckley her missing the celebrations and repeatedly. grief
>> i can understand it. considering all the things that she had to go through in her early part of the marriage, getting to the white house, the triumph of that. son, his of their assassination in front of her. i can understand that. maybe this blow on the head might have exacerbated her emotional state. she was letting it all come out. it was very sad, but i can understand it. >> kentucky and illinois claimed the lincoln's as they're wrong. mary todd was born in lexington, ky. we will visit. >> we are at the mary todd lincoln house, where she lived from 13-21. this is not where she was born but her birthplace no longer
stands. this is the most significant property still standing relating to her childhood. we are in her bedroom, she shared with various sisters and cousins that live with them. they had a family members that came to live with them and lexington. that was primarily so that family members could attend school. lexington was known for educational and cultural institutions. she had nine years of formal schooling, attended the academy within walking distance of her birthplace. anshe went on to attend academy where she learned everything that was expected of women of her class like needl epoint and dancing. they also learned higher levels of traditionally male subjects like literature and arithmetic.
her formal education made her one of the most educated women of her generation. the popular image is often very dark. her childhood, many of the stories associated represent a typical childhood. she had a pony she rode around town. she and her siblings would catch minnows and the creek -- in the creek. she and her cousin attempted to create their own hoop skirts and wear them to sunday school. siblingsents, and her would spend the evening together. in addition to the family members, there were enslaved african americans that this column. on average, they had five slaves that provided all of the household labor. it included three women and two
men. we had a portrait of mary's stepmother's mother. she is said to be a formative influence on mrs. lincoln. she was well-educated, she spoke french fluently. she is also interesting with her views in regard to slavery. in her will, she chose to provide for the gradual freeing of her slaves after her death. this represents her political position of gradual emancipation. this is the dining room of the home. this is where they would have entertained other prominent families of the day, including politicians. one of the greatest politicians and a neighbor of the todds was henry clay. leader of the whig political
party. of father was also a member that political party. they shared some political ideas, especially in regard to slavery. they supported the american colonization society, the movement to re-settle blacks back to liberia. this is what she was exposed to as a child. this was the gentlemans parlor, a formal area of the house. cousins, to one of her she would sit in on some of the political conversations that what happened here when her father was entertaining prominent men of the day. she might have taken an interesting politics to garner the image of her father that was very active in state and local politics. fromr next caller is
lexington. your question or comment. i certainly appreciate the empathetic and unique, specific aspects of her time at the white house. in the segment we just watched, they became confederates during the war. emily,are of her sister, who married a man who eventually became a confederal -- confederate general. can you talk a bit about mary's mourning? for her mourn confederate -- did she? >> that is an interesting
question. >> she was the fourth of seven children. there were at least three or four of the siblings or step siblings who fought actively, -- >> and one of them was the husband of one of her favorite stepsisters, emily. >> exactly. and he was killed. had emily tolns stay at the white house for some extended period of time. in fact, there is a scene, where i believe there was a general at the dinner table, complaining about sharing the dinner table with a rebel, and lincoln said, "mrs. lincoln and i do not need any help from you in deciding who our guests will be." anyway, mary made it very clear that her siblings had taken up
arms, not only against your country but against her husband, and she saw no reason. >> nancy is in indiana. you are on, nancy. >> thank you. a wonderful, unique woman, who is my hero. something that is not brought up often, about her mental condition, but i have never seen anything about what she took. words? the it is a drug. things from a child army. understand why more people do not bring this up, especially as a mental condition got worse as she got older. >> thank you, nancy. do you know anything about that?
>> no, i do not, but what she is saying would make sense, that she suffered from headaches, probably migraine. thunderstorms, too. she was terrified of thunderstorms. at the first sign of a thunderstorm, he would leave the office and go home. >> our conversation about mary todd lincoln continues. i am watching every time it appears. i want to know, how did the lincoln's come to know each other? much?nk you very may we answer that by video? are going to learn more about bill clinton's -- about the lincolns' springfield home. >> this is their home in
springfield, ill., the only calm that they won't, where she learned how to be a wife and mother until 1861. over the course of the 17 years, they added on and added on and created a two-story, very comfortable, upper-class home. after living in the house, they were able to add a full second floor as part of the expanding of not only their family, and his career, he was traveling the circuit, so most of the day-to- day oversight would have been mary lincoln. she was very decisive. she knew exactly what she wanted, so it probably was not too much for her. they were able to add five bedrooms. there was a guest bedroom, which would have been a luxury. they had their own space, not necessarily to highlight
problems in their marriage, but they each had their own space. privacy is not something you get a lot of in the 1850's or the 1860's. he could work on legal papers or political views. mrs. lincoln would have to get up early to make breakfast. her two sons slept in trundle beds under her bed, and then there was robert, the eldest son. he got his own room, but as soon as he went to college, his other brother moved in. hire girlsd to almost every year they lived here, and that girl had her own space at the end of the hallway right outside of the kitchen. we are in mary's bedroom, and this would have been a sanctuary for her. she is in a household of boys and men, a lot of men coming to visit mr. lincoln, so she would have needed a spot that she
could retreat to issue needed to end that would serve as a home office for her. this is morally and figure to bleed the center of a home. a royal oak stove. you can see the acorns on the oven door. it came from buffalo, new york. mary purchased this stowe from a local dealer in springfield. we think it was somewhere between $20 to $25, and if you think about it, the average person making about $500 a year, this is an expensive purchase. she wanted to pack it up with the other things and take it to washington. mr. reagan reminded her she was not going to be doing a lot of cooking when she was at the white house, so they left it for the laurentiis -- the renters. out a little bit lower middle class, smaller
houses, people moving into the neighborhood, and the neighborhood was starting to grow. mary wanted to not only keep up with the joneses, she wanted to be the joneses. >> the that is a glimpse of the life together. how did they meet? they were 10 years apart in age. >> it has been speculated that a relationship with the stepmother may of been a factor, but in 1839, she went to springfield. why springfield? a sister was married to a man who was governor of territorial ill., said she was immediately thrown into the social set. springfield was a tiny town, maybe 2500 people. wealthy and well educated. >> this is something i think people tend to overlook. why rincon was attracted to her
in the first place. -- why lincoln was attracted to her. classic opposite. future senators expressed interest in mary. she spoke french fluently. she was by all accounts a winning conversationalist, highly educated. a beautiful woman of her day. and lincolng figure, stood off to one side with his mouth hanging open. the contrast between his own education, his own lack of polish, and one of the things that married did that i do not think she gets a lot of credit polish to add some her unpolished husband's -- husband. she was his advocate. two races for the united states senate, and his political
career. she imagine him in the white house long before, and a parlor just oneirst floor, way in which she conducted a campaign for him. >> he broke off their engagement for 1.5 years, and here is something he had to say after breaking off the engagement. >> -- "i am now the most miserable man in the world." can either of you tell us how they finally got back together? >> yes, there was a man named francis. in wife, in effect, stepped and said, "look. this is ridiculous. you care for each other. " they reignited a friendship.
they announced that very day, mary let it be known to the family that they were married in that night. edwards and his wife insisted that they have to do it at their house, etc., etc., and a great tragic irony of all of this is that it was in that same house 40 years later that his life came to end. >> our next caller in west fargo, north dakota. >> thank you for having me. i am calling today because i wanted to know your feelings about what mary would have when it was time for the slaves to become free. and in minnesota, the largest
mass hanging in our united states history, and being a native american from north dakota, i was just wondering. this?ry know about and if she did, what were her feelings on this at the time? >> i have not seen anything about her response to the hangings. i know she was very excited about the emancipation proclamation. i suspect from what i have her caring about people who were disadvantaged and outside, so to speak, that she may not have liked the idea, but i do not know. >> i know lincoln tried to reduce that number. the original was much, much and he reducedat, its significantly.
he went along with the whole thing somewhat reluctantly. >> cindy in denver. >> hi. thank you for taking my call. kile have a question. first, i wanted to thank you for this series. it is great. and i wanted to ask if either of your guests have heard of mary lincoln suffering from mental illnesses that we would today equate with being bipolar or manic depressive. >> we have many people even on twitter try to put a name to mary lincoln's anguish, and how impossible is that to do, when you are looking back 150 years? >> that is what i thought. that is what i was thinking. they used to call it manic butressive before bipolar,
it seemed as though sometimes she was very excited and very outgoing. hysterical with grief. >> how possible is it for us to know this. >> the symptoms give you hints. >> pointing out the obvious. neither one of us is professionally trained to diagnose any condition, but it is no doubt that there is this continuing fascination and a desire on the part of people to put a name to her condition. >> from what i understood, none of the positions could figure it out. they could not come up with anything conclusive in diagnosis. as a girl, and there were names, and later, a mercurial. >> georgia, good evening. >> hi.
thank you for the program. i will mention that my husband and i and three other couples have read patricia brady's biography of washington. we read "theo, first family," about john and abigail adams, so that has added more to my knowledge of those two, and another book that we aead, which is fictionalize, biography of mary, so i do not know how you feel about that, but nothing in it was new to me or contradicted any thing of other sources, historical sources, except that there was mention of what appeared to be an affair with some government employee. it has been several years, and i
am sorry that i do not remember the author, but i was very skeptical about it except for the fact that existing newspapers were quoted with dates and headlines, and i thought it this author has made this up, she really has been bold in doing so. it seems the employee may have been somebody in charge of housing or government buildings in d.c., and i wondered if you had any comments on that or knew anything about it. >> only that one of the criticisms that have been made, and i alluded to it earlier, gossip. that is how i would characterize it. gossip, suggesting that mrs. -- oln in her desperation
inappropriate individuals, and how far it went. i would be very skeptical, to be honest with you. >> and we should say that this is the first time in history that newspapers were having columnists, opinion writers. of her was spread in the newspapers around the country. this is really a change in the way first ladies were treated by the press. >> sure, sure. >> a scapegoat. and how incredibly intense the popular emotions were. the civil war. that carries over to coverage of the president and his family. >> another video at the springfield home, and this one helps us understand more about the political partnerships that were referred to between the two winds. [video clip] where she helped build his political career. mary and abraham would invite
friends and family over to talk politics. became there he president. ambitiousn was a very person. he had a lot of goals in life. those were enhanced when he met and married mary todd. she was ambitious, saying she wanted to marry a man with a good mind, someone who wanted to be president, and there was something about lincoln that she saw the potential and encouraged it and helped nurture it. in the dining room, helping to polish them up for society, the political parties that they have, where they invited a lot of important people. a very important john allman. she wheeled and a lot of power, both of mr. lincoln and where he was going. this is the dining room. when they moved in, it was a
kitchen, and that is not something that a college, high- society, upper-class woman would do. mary had grown up with a formal dining room, and she felt she needed to have one because she did not want her children growing up without proper manners, and in a lot of cases, mr. lincoln needed that polishing, as well. so she created this dining room to have that form, where she and her family and also when they had guests over, so a lot of different people that came to visit mr. lincoln during the 1860's campaign and then after he was elected president. there were four months between the election and the inauguration, so many were coming to springfield, and one ended up being mr. lincoln's secretary of state. a host, she would of cakes or aise
macaroon. from downtown springfield. we knew that they bought a lot of those macaroon pyramids. this is the double parlor, and these are the two nicest rooms of the house. , the are marble top tables windows, gilded candlesticks. there is a what not shelf with a bust of mr. lee again on it. not everybody in the neighborhood could say that they had a bust of their husband in the living room. so this is a fancy place. this is where she wanted to show off. mary would have held her party is in here. she would have been discussing mr. wink and's political aspirations. meeting mr. door,
linking here, probably in the archway between the two rooms, may be picking up some refreshments, and then in the sitting room before going out again. but this was the seat of power in the house. showcasing what her husband had done, how far he had come from that one-room log cabin in the middle of nowhere kentucky to this beautiful house, a very comfortable house, and kind of hinted at where they were headed, stating to the world that abraham lincoln had made it and that he was ready to move on. a caller from wisconsin, his name is tim. go ahead. >> thank you for taking my call. i have read several biographies about mary lincoln, and i have never seen anything in there as to how influential, some of the
policies that abraham inactive while he was president, and i am just wondering if either of your guests could elaborate further as to the extent of the political decisions that were made in the white house during his time in office. >> she was interested in personalities. it she used to refer to one as that abolitionist sneak. earlier. ironically, obtaining their goal. once they moved into the white house. move that today, it diminished. i think the partnership was in some ways broken. was a source of frustration. the relationship that they had had before the presidency was in
some way greatly diminished. i do not think that she was significantly influential in terms of shaping public policy or the conduct of the war or even who he voted as cabinet. >> we have only eight minutes left and still a lot of stories to tell. she lived years after the assassination. what were those years like a >> part of the time, she was in a mental institution because her son robert put her there, and i have been debating about him way she feltut the he had been disloyal to her and how she -- he was able to control her money and become, i guess, the executor of it. she had to struggle, but she who could helple her, and i thought that was
admirable, even with your problems, that she was able to do that. >> she did something. and was obsessed with money, at one point, she moved to sell off a lot of her white house dresses. impression. >> she was in debt. >> she was in debt. $27,000. she needed the cash, no doubt about it. she petitioned congress for a pension, which finally was granted, $3,000. >> a month? >> a year. subsequently raised to $5,000. >> but only after she found out that another first lady, and i cannot remember which one, was getting $5,000, and she said, "if you are giving her $5,000, you should give me $5,000."
she went to live in europe because it was cheaper. when tad died of tuberculosis. >> how old was he? >> he would have been 16. of the children, only one lifted to adulthood. coming back from europe. >> from baltimore, your question. >> yes. a great program. was mary lincoln's relationship? tad and hisvie, father had a strong relationship. did he have a strong relationship with her? >> i think it carried over. he had a sensitivity. following the death of his
father, he realized how vulnerable his mother was, and, in fact, he appointed himself to try to take care of her. >> i think his personality was also similar to hers, and i think they were simpatico in that. i think she recognized that and he recognized that, so i'd think that would be another reason why they were close. went chicago, and then she to europe. >> she went to europe. she came back. and then robert had her incarcerated for several months. there was a second trial, however, in which she managed to convince a jury that she was perfectly sane. she and robert never really reconciled. she went back to europe for four years, lived in france for four years, and then in 1880 returned
to springfield. she was almost blind. she had severe cataracts, and she went to her sister's house, the house where she had met mr. lincoln. illinois, you, are on. >> i think you answered my question. i wanted to know if robert and his mother ever got to be friends again. did he offer to take her to his home? >> what you might call a formal reconciliation. >> i do not think she trusted him. and related to this, from twitter, asking, are there any living relatives? livinge are no relatives. >> so robert had no children? >> one dies. the last direct descendants died
in the 1970's. >> a great question to wrap up the show from facebook. "when you are alone with your friends, what is your favorite story to tell about mary lincoln?" do you want to go first? >> that she and was about had a great relationship. they were the same age. they both lost sons. lost in the army in the civil war, and then mary thatrted the causes elizabeth supported. >> and what does that tell you about mary lincoln could >> that she is a very sensitive person, that she could empathize. >> and how controversial would that be that she was a friend with an african-american? >> to some extent, even the people kept calling elizabeth her servant, but i do not think mary looked at her as a servant.
i think mary looked at her to be a companion. >> in the case of what might have been, lincoln served only one term in congress. he would not be reelected, and so it was mary who managed to job asn to get him the commissioner of the office at $2,000 per year. it was mary who wrote the letter. and there was the governorship of the oregon territories. thats mary who told him organ was not friendly, likely to be democratic and that it was not in their long-term interest to be the governor of that territory. >> from denver, colorado. >> hi. i would just like to know a couple of things.
what would she have wanted her legacy to be today, and also, would she have been more or against the women's movement in the 1960's, if there were a time machine? >> thank you very much. and the legacy. >> the legacy. that she loved her husband and her family. in that order. >> do you want to add to that? >> she wanted people to get along. i really think she did, and that is something she tried to do early in the white house years, to be fair and encourage people regardless of the party they were in, but with regard to women, i think she might have been persuaded to be a feminist, but it is kind